It's tempting to chalk up the decisions of all 32 teams to pass on TE Antonio Gates in the 2003 draft as a blunder of epic proportions if those decisions aren't put in the right context. In reality, though, Gates story is a testament to the depth and thoroughness of the evaluation process NFL teams go through.
It's essential to remember that Gates spent his first collegiate semester at Michigan State and didn't play there after being asked to give up basketball and concentrate fully on football. He transferred to a community college and then to Kent State and played basketball exclusively. After so much time away from the game and so many questions about his desire to play it, it was easy for many teams to dismiss Gates. Several did send scouts to evaluate his movements on the basketball court, though, and San Diego thought enough of him to sign him to a rookie free agent contract.